Happy 126th Birthday Dorothy Parker

Today is the 126th birthday of Dorothy Parker.  Her poem “Telephone” is something everyone has felt, if they want to admit it or not. She had the wit of three people and the alcohol tolerance to match.  The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.

dorothy parker

NAME: Dorothy Parker
OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Journalist, Poet
BIRTH DATE: August 22, 1893
DEATH DATE: June 07, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH: West End, New Jersey
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Failure
REMAINS: Cremated (ashes scattered at NAACP Headquarters, Baltimore, MD)

BEST KNOWN FOR: Dorothy Parker was the sharpest wit of the Algonquin Round Table, as well as a master of short fiction and a blacklisted screenwriter.

Resumé
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

Journalist, writer, and poet. Born Dorothy Rothschild on August 22, 1893, in West End, New Jersey. Dorothy Parker was a legendary literary figure, known for her biting wit. She worked on such magazines as Vogue andVanity Fair during the late 1910s. Parker went on to work as a book reviewer for The New Yorker in the 1920s. A selection of her reviews for this magazine was published in 1970 as Constant Reader, the title of her column. She remained a contributor to The New Yorker for many years; the magazine also published a number of her short stories. One of her most popular stories, “Big Blonde,” won the O. Henry Award in 1929.In addition to her writing, Dorothy Parker was a noted member of the New York literary scene in 1920s. She formed a group called the Algonquin Round Table with writer Robert Benchley and playwright Robert Sherwood. This artistic crowd also included such members as The New Yorker founder Harold Ross, comedian Harpo Marx, and playwright Edna Ferber among others. The group took its name from its hangout—the Algonquin Hotel, but also also known as the Vicious Circle for the number of cutting remarks made by its members and their habit of engaging in sharp-tongued banter.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Dorothy Parker spent much of her time in Hollywood, California. She wrote screenplays with her second husband Alan Campbell, including the 1937 adaptation of A Star Is Born and the 1942 Alfred Hitchcock film Saboteur. In her personal life, she had become politically active, supporting such causes as the fight for civil rights. She also was involved with the Communist Party in the 1930s. It was this association that led to her being blacklisted in Hollywood.

While her opportunities in Hollywood may have dried up, Dorothy Parker was still a well-regarded writer and poet. She even went on to write a play entitled Ladies of the Corridor in 1953. Parker returned to New York City in 1963, spending her last few years in fragile condition. She died on June 7, 1967.

The Flaw in Paganism

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.

Author of books:
Enough Rope (1926, poetry)
Sunset Gun (1928)
Laments for the Living (1930, short stories)
Death and Taxes (1932)
After Such Pleasures (1933, short stories)
Collected Poems, Not So Deep as a Well (1936, poetry)
Here Lies (1939, short stories)
The Ladies of the Corridor (1952, with Arnaud d’Usseau)

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One comment

  1. I’ve always loved that first quote with “or vice versa.” Beyond priceless and full-on expressive of her Beyond Mad Men Ad-men (person) level of wit to not just cut through, but to liberate the truth with her wonderfully scary mad observational abilities. She felt like the kind of person that got more and more of her high octane self as she progressed through life, and she started with much out of the gate… Not by keeping it simple or real. By expressing the heart of the matter congruent with the heart of the matter, without spin or diluting it with the propaganda falsely-tentative Betty Boop figure-eight Angler Fish foot baiting out discretion.

    BAM, is a word. BAM, mostly of course used as an onomatopoeia in cartoons, though I ascribe it to Dorothy’s Way. An old Malay Proverb expresses, “Trees with strong roots laugh at storms.” Maybe even after being a silent and empathic and undisturbed mirror through each storm, the tree softly and compassionately reaches to the subsided storm and, “Did your bluster have a message?” I feel From my perspective that that proverb is full-on Dorthy Parker. She’d checkmate you in one move, and then assist to figure out a better way moving forward. She led by example, by the example of what it means to be unapologetic for Your Life, Your Way. To me, Dorothy Parker is the Poster Child for “Be Yourself, What Other Way Is There.” Without fail, she was that. Herself. Indefatigably. Indomitably. She is my Keumgang Jitae, my Diamond Mountain. I will forever have the asset of being in her debt.

    Dorothy Parker, I do not say R.I.P.

    Dorothy Parker. My memories of you, the lot of them, are blessings. I cherish them all.

    Like

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